Private/Family Goal Approach - Part 1

For @Kaitie

So will preempt this by saying that this process was setup at the beginning of this year, in the last 2-3 months my knowledge and how I use Asana has grown alot, as yet I have not implemented those things in our Goal Setting Approach as yet. When I get around to make the changes I will create a part 2 of this post.

I created a Project called 2016-Goals. In there we created sections for the key things that we wanted to categories our goals as;
Financial Goals: (Obvious Things relating to finances, Mortgage Review, Superannuation, Investments etc)
JnVWoods Goals: (My wife and I have a side company, what did we want it to achieve, direction etc…)
Family Goals: (Things around what we wanted to do as a Family, Two Boys age 17 & 19, Renovations, How we celebrate things, Charity etc.)
Personal Goals: (The idea here was to add personal goals for each of us in here, eg. Personal Development Training, Fitness. This section didn’t work so well)

So my Wife and I did the Brain Dump of writing things down on post it notes for each of the sections on what we wanted/thought/would like. We then discussed/agreed/disagreed and put them into Asana as Tasks under each Section.

That was Phase 1. As this was January and it is very hot in Australia the Pool and other activities where much more interesting. There was a pause (Mistake Number 1).

Once the pause was over… We looked at each task in each section and decided if it was something that warranted its own Project, or if it was something that could be handled as a single task or task with sub tasks (Mistake Number 2).

Anything that was setup as it’s own project eg. Renovations, Investments, a brain dump approach was then taken to get down all of our thoughts and then structure them as a Project etc. This worked reasonably well as it was distinct and could be managed. Mistake Number 3 was establishing who owned the project (seemed to be always me).

Next step was to establish a Goal Review Meeting, using the standard Asana Template. So we established a standard agenda things like share portfolio update, side company update, family etc. Also include a seperate Decision Section to record any decision made so no confusion later on. A reoccurring task was then established to review the goals project, review meeting project and the individual Goal Projects ie. Renovations and then add any items to the fortnightly meeting (Mistake Number 4).

At each meeting we would go through the agenda etc and update our Goals.

So that has been going nearly a year. So now the most important part…

The Learnings…

Mistake 1 - Treat this like you would any Business/Work project… For all good intentions, you can’t do this sitting on the deck/verandah in shorts an T-shirt enjoying a glass of your favourite beverage and expect awesome results. Plan it commit to it, get Stakeholder Buy In (be that wife, significant other, boyfriend, girlfriend, children etc)

Mistake 2 - Have a clear definition of what criteria will make it a project, versus task and sub tasks. Ensure that this is stuck too and also make sure that you use the Task can have multiple projects to make sure you have a clear link of projects that are created back to the Goal Project… Otherwise stuff gets lost.

Mistake 3 - So just because you use Asana the most doesn’t mean you should be the owner of all the projects. If the other Stakeholders don’t want to pony up to be the owner then it isn’t important enough to get done.

Mistake 4 - Scheduling the Goal Review Meeting and reviewing the projects before the meeting. Whilst fortnightly sounds good and is what you might do for a regular business project, how realistic is it for personal/family stuff? Refer Mistake 1… 5:30 pm on a Friday after you finished a long week at work and you both regularly sit down and catchup on stuff, doesn’t mean that is a good time to do a review meeting.

Make sure that all participants have a good working knowledge of Asana, before undertaking this… If only 1 of you is a Gun Asana user and the other person is only a part time user then you will end up doing a lot of admin/training.

As with anything just because it works in a Business setting, doesn’t mean that it will in a personal setting. You may be great at organising and getting colleagues to work through and deliver a project at the office… However it is not always the case that this works in your personal space, family can be your hardest colleagues to work with. Buy in is key…

Finally… A brief brain dump of what I am thinking of implementing to make this work better for the Woods Family.

  1. Review Meeting needs to be a Board… Easier to visualise and see progression
  2. Review Meeting needs to be monthly and needs to be associated with something special like a big family dinner. That way there is a reward and time to have discussion.
  3. Need to make better use of Icons and project linkings and mark as waiting on to better facilitate the conversation and easier for engagement
  4. Need to think about how I can make it flow and we can see progress building towards the completion of the Goal.

@Kaitie Thank you very much for asking me to do this. I enjoyed it and I know it will help me setup the process for out Goal Setting and follow through much better.



@Jason_Woods thank you for sharing! I am inspired.

I particularly like your point about the timing of the review meeting. We’re all human and Friday evenings usually aren’t productive. Plus, make this task management feel less like work by incorporating it into an event and/or providing a reward. Great tip! I might gamify the experience and say after we’ve completed x number of tasks or y number of meetings we get to do [insert fun activity and/or junk food]. :tongue:

I also like the message you send about tasks vs. projects etc. because this applies to all Asana work, whether personal or professional. It can be very helpful to set clear guidelines for when to make a task or project and establish Asana etiquette, so everyone walks in on the same page. It certainly takes some experimentation to establish these best practices, but once they’re in place the use of Asana can become so efficient.

And finally, a good life lesson! If no one wants to be the project or task owner, then the project probably isn’t that important to us or we need to reframe the situation. Thanks Jason.

@Jason_Woods Your post above was super helpful in my own iteration of the process- thank you so so much for capturing and for sharing. In my household, we’ve kicked this off with the initial planning and scoping session and have everything captured including notes for the meeting and the goals/action items for 2017 in a project in Asana.

I’m going to try to implement the monthly review meeting like you suggest and am also going to take your suggestion of planning it around a dinner or reward.

I’ll keep you updated as we progress with my own learnings and I hope it empowers a splendid 2017 for our family and yours. Cheers, and happy holidays!

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Would love to know how it is going as I embark on something similar

I had not even thought to use Asana’s personal projects for our rental property renovation. This would be so great rather than trying to get my husband to use an Excel spreadsheet in Google Docs. That’s always a struggle! :wink: